Winds rip off parts of cover over petroleum coke at Port Saint John

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A storage structure at Port Saint John that houses the petroleum coke used to power the Coleson Cove generating station has suffered substantial damage.

What started as a small tear in the material covering the large dome-like structure has now been torn by winds to the point where large sections of the frame are exposed.

“It’s been impacted by the recent wind events we’ve had,” said Paula Copeland, director of engagement and sustainability with the port.

“The damage has been to that fabric that goes around the outer side of the structure.”

Port has no environmental concern

Copeland said the port does not have environment-related concerns because of the shredded cover.

“No, it’s actually quite frozen,” she said of the coke.

Copeland described the petroleum coke as “granulated loose cargo,” comparable to a pile of frozen dirt.

“It’s what we would call a dry bulk cargo.”

Mark Belliveau, spokesperson for NB Power, said in an email that the utility will be trucking the petroleum coke to Coleson Cove, about 20 kilometers southwest of the port, over the next few days.

A cover over the petroleum coke was severely damaged by wind this winter, exposing much of the frame. (Roger Cosman/CBC News)

When asked about possible environmental impacts, Bellieveu noted that there is a concrete berm around the structure, and the material “is not soluble in water.”

“The storage unit is only half-full, which allows us to move it as much as possible to keep it out of the weather,” Belliveau wrote.

The material covering the dome has been gradually shredding over the winter, and a temporary fix is ​​being worked on Copeland said.

NB Power is going to tear down the shed anyway because of changes planned at the port.

NB Power’s petroleum coke storage structure sits in the Port of Saint John, where the material is stored once removed from cargo ships. (Google Maps)

“Those are temporary buildings anyway,” she said. “Like, they’re not meant to be a 40- or 100-year-old building.”

She said relocating the petroleum coke has been a slow process because of low temperatures.

Construction of the petroleum coke storage operation was criticized by environmentalists when it was approved in 2007.

They cited what they saw as conflict of interest, a lack of public consultation, and a questionable environmental assessment.

Because of renovations at the port, NB Power already planned to tear down the domed structure it uses to store petroleum coke. (Roger Cosman/CBC News)



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